Dexter Gordon : Live at the Jazzhus

Introduction By Dexter Gordon - 1.06
But Not For Me - 14.59
Take The 'A' Train - 10.30
For All We Know - 8.29
Blues Walk (2nd Version) - 11.25
I Guess I'll Have To Hang My Tears Out To Dry - 6.08
Love For Sale - 15.08

 Dexter Gordon had a long career split between two continents. Among his early employers in the 1940s and 1950s were Lionel Hampton, Fletcher Henderson, Louis Armstrong, Billy Eckstine and Dizzy Gillespie, an ample training ground for the young tenor saxophonist. He engaged in tenor battles on record with Wardell Gray and Teddy Edwards while back on the west coast. Drug addiction resulted in jail time and a hiatus from recording opportunities in the early 1950s, though his star rose with a flurry of recordings in the 1960s as a leader for Blue Note. One of many jazz artists who departed for Europe, where race problems were minimal and work plentiful, Gordon worked extensively around Copenhagen and made recordings for many labels. His triumphant return to the U.S. was marked by his signing with Columbia, first major label contract, while he would also record once more for Blue Note. As his health began to decline, Gordon also starred in the film Round Midnight essentially playing a character much like himself, earning an Academy Award nomination. Gordon also made a guest appearance in several episodes of the television series Crime Story. Dexter Gordon died in 1990 at the age of sixty-seven.


Black Lion recorded three consecutive nights of Dexter Gordon at Jazzhus Montmartre in July 1967, releasing several albums. Gordon’s quartet at the time included fellow expatriates Kenny Drew on piano and drummer Albert ‘Tootie’ Heath, with the young Danish virtuoso bassist Niels-Henning Ørsted Pedersen rounding out the band. Gordon’s big tone and robust phrasing in his deliberate setting of the standard “I Should Care” demonstrate a master’s touch with a ballad, while the interplay between Drew and Pedersen is first rate. It may seem odd to follow with another slow ballad, but “Darn That Dream” provides some contrast with Gordon’s playful, choppy approach. The tenor saxophonist turns on the afterburners in his rousing rendition of “Now’s the Time,” with his rhythm section fueling his amazing flight. “Satin Doll” is a bit tiresome in the wrong hand, but Pedersen’s imaginative bass introduction signals that this won’t be a pedestrian performance. He remains prominent in the rhythm section throughout the take, indicating why so many jazz greats sought him out for their recordings. The closing selection is a rhapsodic treatment of “What’s New” and in Gordon’s capable hands, there is plenty of new territory to explore with his emotional improvisation on this familiar theme.

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